Corporate partnerships are the lynchpin for many college programs
Campus Issues / Technology
Using partnerships to curb cost of facilities, services
More in: Workforce Development / Opinions
Auto consortium takes on the manufacturing challenge
More in: Government / Workforce Development
A top U.S. Department of Labor official wants more community colleges to grant college credit for short-term workforce training.
The idea that short-term workforce training, which has historically not included college credit, does not count toward degrees is "immoral," Jane Oates, assistant secretary for employment and training (ETA) at the department, told community college educators at this month's Broadening Impact: National Science Foundation-Funded Projects at Two-Year College Conference.
While acknowledging the enormous culture shift involved in eliminating the demarcation between credit and non-credit courses, Oates said aligning workforce training to meet the requirements of both industry-recognized credentials and associate degrees would make community colleges more competitive.
What Oates suggests is already being done by the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE), which was among the NSF-funded Advanced Technological Education centers represented at the meeting. FLATE worked with industry and education stakeholders in Florida to create an engineering technology degree that articulates statewide with stackable, industry-aligned credentials. The program focuses on core courses covering introductory computer-aided drafting, electronics, instrumentation, testing, processes, and materials.
"We are looking for acceleration. We're looking for different delivery styles. We're looking for that alignment between what is really sound curriculum and what businesses need and putting that together,” Oates said. "We're looking at bridges between—I don't want anyone to run from the room when I say this—the non-credit side of the house and the credit side of the house.”
She added: "It is just as irresponsible for colleges to continue to enroll people and take tuition and not give them any pathway to a degree as it was for ETA before 2009 to give out grant money and not insist that every dollar that you spend on training (funded by DOL) should result in an industry-recognized credential or a degree.”
Copyright ©2012 American Association of Community Colleges